Rugby League: Saints back in the driving seat

St Helens 58 Halifax 20

St Helens' destiny, as they are probably already sick of being told, is back in their own hands. Last night they accepted the invitation extended by Wigan's defeat at Bradford on Friday to go back to the top of the Stones Super League.

The equation is simple: if they continue to win they will take the title, and if they follow the lead set by outstanding forwards like Keiron Cunningham and Chris Joynt in this ultimately one-sided match, they will continue to win.

Saints took longer than they should have to get themselves on top in the first half. Halifax, despite their excellent recent away form, played poorly in the early stages and were fortunate to be only 10 points behind in the first few minutes.

Alert handling from Karle Hammond and Paul Newlove had produced a try for Danny Arnold after only two minutes, and when Cunningham lunged over from acting half-back it seemed that Saints were taking complete control. But John Schuster landed a penalty for Halifax and then John Bentley went in at the corner, Schuster's conversion putting his side only two points in arrears.

Cunningham, always a problem for a side not on its defensive mettle, got his second when he backed up Apollo Perelini near the line and then Joynt, back in the side and at his best after an ankle injury, charged through for a brilliant solo try to give St Helens the sort of lead that their dominance demanded.

The vulnerability of Halifax's defence near their line was shown up again early in the second half when Newlove forced his way over direct from a play-the-ball. Bobbie Goulding, another returning from injury, then scootered through for a try as Saints began to look like Super League leaders.

Only some poor ball control prevented them from quickly adding to their lead. Martin Moana, who had already been sin-binned along with Saints' Hammond for fighting, was then sent off for a high tackle on Arnold to ruin Halifax's already slim chances of making the scoreline respectable. Saints immediately exploited their advantage, Goulding sending in Allan Hunte and adding his fifth goal for good measure.

Halifax pulled one back after Newlove had gone for an interception and the defensive line had paid the price, Schuster going through the gap to score. They got another through Graeme Hallas but Saints responded with Hunte's second, laid on by Cunningham.

Cunningham himself struck next, completing a hat-trick that emphasises his status as the epitome of the modern hooker with Joey Hayes and Hammond also going over before the end.

St Helens: Prescott; Arnold, Hunte, Newlove, Hayes; Hammond, Goulding; Perelini, Cunningham, Fogerty, Joynt, McVey, Morley. Substitutes: Haigh, Matautia, Northey, Pickavance.

Halifax: Amone; Bentley, Schuster, Tuilagi, Rika; Chester, Dean; Ketteridge, Rowley, Perrett, Gillespie, Jackson, Moana. Substitutes: Yumaga, Hallas, Harrison, Baldwin.

Referee: S Presley (Castleford).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project